Refreshing Cucumber Water…

Cucumber Water

For Valentine’s Day this year, Joel took me (sans baby) to an nice hotel for the weekend. We lounged in bed watching movies, snacked on complimentary cake balls and champagne, and literally did pretty much nothing but wallow in our sweet, sweet freedom. I know. That sounds just horrible, doesn’t it? How could we even think about enjoying ourselves without our precious one year old?? Well….it was EASY. Although I did require hourly updates from my parents and may have ended up watching a video they sent us of Cassidy having an absolutely splendid time over…and over…and over. Ah, freedom from the baby; always a bit bittersweet, no? ;)

Anyway, to treat ourselves after a particularly long and tiring few weeks, we visited the spa at the hotel. Being one of the top rated spas in the DFW area, we were eager to give it a try, and it totally lived up to its reputation! Hands down, the greatest massage I’ve ever had! However, the thing I remembered most from our little spa outing was the lovely snacks they had! All kinds of fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts, coffee, a variety of teas, and glasses of ice cold water with cucumber slices. It was so crisp and refreshing! Since that weekend in February, I’ve made several pitchers of this cucumber water. When it’s hot summer, there’s nothing better than a cold glass of this stuff! It’ll cool you right off!

Refreshing Cucumber Water

filtered, cold water
1 seedless hothouse cucumber (if your store doesn’t carry the seedless variety, regular cucumbers are fine)
ice

Fill a large pitcher with cold, filtered water. Thoroughly wash and thinly slice your cucumbers; no need to peel. Add ice and cucumbers to pitcher. Serve immediately.

 

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Mango Lassi…

mango lassi

A loooong time ago, when Joel and I lived in our apartment in North Dallas, we used to eat at an Indian restaurant (my first Indian food experience was there, actually!). They had this delicious drink called a mango lassi. It was like a mango smoothie and we loved it! You may ask yourself, “what exactly is a ‘lassi’?”, well, to the best of my knowledge, it’s a smoothie made with fruit, yogurt, milk, and honey. Sounds good, right? Well it is!

mango lassi2

I love that these are made with fat-free yogurt, so they’re pretty much guilt-free! You can use any fruit you like, although I believe mango is the most common. I’m going to try strawberry next, then probably peach or blueberry since Cassidy loves blueberries so much. She loved the mango flavor, though! This was a great “dessert” after a healthy meal and I felt great about feeding it to my baby. I know these will be a popular beverage this summer, since it’s so light and refreshing!

Mango Lassi

2 cups mango, chopped (I used frozen mango, which saves so much time!)
1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth (if you’re using frozen mango, it may be pretty thick, almost like frozen yogurt). Serve immediately. Serves about 4.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

mango lassi 3

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Pineapple Sparklers…

Ok, I think we can all agree, it’s hot. It is, indeed, summertime after all.

So instead of posting pictures of your dashboard thermostat on facebook (please stop, btw. kthanksbye.), complaining to your coworkers, and not even wanting to get up to take a shower because it’s “just too hot” (ok, so that last one might have been me…), just embrace the heat.

Come home from work, change into some comfy shorts, turn on some Jimmy Buffett, and sip something cold and fruity. Preferably this pineapple sparkler. It’s fruity, bubbly, refreshing, and most importantly, loaded with booze (in case you’ve just spent 20 minutes trying to get an itty bitty polkadot swimsuit on a 5 month old with unusually sweaty feet and flailing legs and arms.) ;)

Pineapple Sparklers

2 parts Sprite or other lemon-lime soda
1 part pineapple juice
1 part pineapple vodka
splash banana rum
squeeze of fresh lime juice

Stir all ingredients together. Serve over ice.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

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Grapefruit Margaritas…

Happy Friday! YAY! What better way to start the weekend off than with a cold, tart grapefruit margarita! I know the picture is a little boring, but trust me, these margaritas are anything but! After a long week of taking care of Cassidy, keeping the house clean in case they decide to show it, then having to grab everything and get out of the house on a moment’s notice for showings (10 showings so far, no offers yet…keep praying!)…all I need is one of these babies and I’m GOOD. I happen to love salt with my grapefruit, so the combination of the tequila with the grapefruit, lime and salty rim is just perfect in my book. Like all excellent margaritas I make, this one comes from my friend Shawnda, aka: the Margarita Queen. So, my best advice to you this weekend: whip up one of these margaritas, grill some fajitas or burgers, and sit back and enjoy the weekend!

Grapefruit Margaritas

3 ounces tequila
2 ounces orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
2 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice
6 ounces fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice (1 large grapefruit)
blue agave nectar, to taste
salt for rim, optional

Stir together tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, grapefruit juice and agave nectar. Check for sweetness and add additional agave if desired. Pour over two small glasses of ice rimmed with salt. Serves 2.

Recipe source: barely adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

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Blood Orange Margaritas…

Oh, how I’ve missed margaritas over the past 9+ months. Anytime we’d go to a Mexican restaurant and Joel would order one, I’d stare at it longingly across the table as I sipped my lousy, boring water (no matter how many limes you add to your water – it won’t taste like a margarita). But now, my beloved margarita has come back into my life and all is well again! When I found some gorgeous looking blood oranges at the store recently, I knew I had to make margaritas. And my friend Shawnda, the queen of margaritas, has the perfect recipe! If you’ve never tried blood oranges, you’re missing out; their deep, red juice is SO sweet and bright- it almost has a floral taste to it. Add that to a margarita and you’ve got one lip-smacking cocktail! Cheers!

Blood Orange Margaritas

3 ounces tequila
2 ounces orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
2 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice
4 ounces fresh-squeezed blood orange juice (3-4 oranges)
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Stir together tequila, orange liqueur, lime, orange juices and confectioners’ sugar. Check for sweetness and add additional sugar if desired. Pour over two small glasses of ice rimmed with salt. Serves 2.

Recipe source: barely adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

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Guess what? It’s time for another virtual baby shower! Yippee! (I never get tired of these!) This time, it’s for my good friend Courtney of Cook Like A Champion.  My friend Josie of Pink Parsley is hosting this time and I’m SO glad she asked me to participate! Courtney was sweet enough to take part in my own virtual baby shower in November (remember? She made me that awesome Opera cake!) and I’m thrilled to be a part of her’s today! I feel so much closer to her since we both got pregnant around the same time and have kept up with each other throughout our pregnancies. I remember when she first told me she and Eric were expecting- I was SO excited for them!  She’s having a sweet baby girl in March (so soon!) and I know exactly how she feels right about now- excited, nervous and READY! I know she and Eric are going to be amazing parents and this little girl is certainly lucky to have them! I can just imagine all the mother/daughter baking that will be happening in their kitchen! How sweet!

When I was in my last weeks of pregnancy, all I wanted was a cocktail. Something cold, fruity and refreshing…unfortunately, I couldn’t very well go out and order myself a margarita or anything (boo.), so when I found a bottle of sparkling peach juice (non alcoholic) in a pretty champagne bottle at Target, I decided to make myself a little mocktail. I served it in a pretty stemmed glass with a peach slice and strawberries. Even though there was no alcohol in it, it was the BEST thing I had tasted in weeks! I sat there and drank half the bottle by myself! So refreshing and fruity! I decided I would make the same thing for Courtney since I’m sure she could use a little mocktail herself! This time I added a little blood orange Italian soda to it and made it even better! YUM! So here you go, Courtney- here’s a nice, tall, fizzy drink to relax you! Cheers and congratulations!

Virgin Peach-Blood Orange Sangrias

1 part blood orange Italian soda (any brand will do- I used the Archer Farms brand from Target)
2 parts sparkling peach juice (also Archer Farms, found at Target. If you can’t get this, sparkling apple cider or sparkling grape juice will work great as well)
frozen or fresh peach slices
pink sugar and strawberries for garnish

Slightly wet the rim of a stemmed glass and dip in pink sugar. Place a peach slice in glass and pour in peach juice and blood orange soda. Garnish with a strawberry. Serve cold.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

Be sure and head over to Josie AND Courtney’s blogs to check out all the other beautiful dishes and sweets our friends put together.

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Thick and Rich Homemade Hot Cocoa…

Can I just brag for a second? Because, um….I nailed it. I set out to make a rich, thick, chocolaty homemade hot cocoa and I. Freaking. Nailed. It. Ok, bragging done.

Joel and I are both huge fans of hot cocoa, but lately, I’ve found myself wanting more than just the powdery packet mixed with milk. Even though I normally add a candy cane and a giant marshmallow, I always end up wanting something more. I don’t know why in the world I haven’t made homemade hot cocoa before, but I can assure you, I will NOT be going back to the packets. Ever. This hot cocoa is velvety, thick, insanely rich and out-of-this-world chocolaty. I’m in love.

Thick and Rich Homemade Hot Cocoa

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
4 ounces chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips work fine too)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 scant teaspoon instant coffee powder or espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk the milk, chocolate, sugar, salt and coffee powder in a small saucepan over medium heat until the chocolate is completely melted and everything is combined. Stir in the vanilla. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat off and let the hot cocoa sit (still covered) for 5 minutes before serving to allow it to thicken. Serve immediately. Serves 2.

**Some of you might want to thin it out with a little extra milk or water- it’s VERY rich! ;)

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

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Christmas Wassail…

Thanksgiving is only 4 days away. So why am I posting a Christmas recipe? Well, you can really make this wassail anytime of the year, but we just happen to make it at Christmas (my mom has made it every year since 1982!), thus making it “Christmas wassail”. I happen to think this would be a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving day celebration- guests could sip on it while they mingle and wait for the meal, or it could be served after the meal with pie. Joel and I decided to put up our Christmas tree this past weekend instead of the day after Thanksgiving and I made a giant pot of this wassail to sip on while we decorated. Let me tell you, this stuff is WAY better than any holiday candle, potpourri or scentsy burner you can find! It permeates the entire house and makes it smell heavenly while it simmers! It’s one of my very favorite things and I can’t imagine the holiday season without it! Whether you make this for tree decorating day (the best day of the year!), your family Thanksgiving or just a random evening, I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

Christmas Wassail

2 quarts apple juice or apple cider
1 48-ounce can pineapple juice
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon allspice
4 or 5 cinnamon sticks
15-20 cloves, pushed into an orange or apple

Mix all ingredients in a large pot or dutch oven. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours.
*Alternatively you can cook it in a slow cooker on high for 2 hours.

Recipe source: my mom

 

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Please don’t go running off! I KNOW this smoothie looks anything but appetizing, but trust me- it is! It really is! It’s smooth, refreshing and chock FULL of vitamins and good-for-you fruits and veggies! The reason mine is brown instead of green (like the traditional green monster smoothie) is because I added strawberries and blueberries- those colors together give you….brown. Not pretty but darn tasty!

What is a green monster smoothie, you ask? It’s basically just a fruit smoothie with the addition of fresh spinach (an addition you can’t taste, but your body will thank you for!). Spinach is high in calcium, vitamin A and iron, to name a small few. This smoothie is a great solution for people wanting to get their daily fill of fresh fruits and vegetables; it’s SO good for you. I made these a lot when I was first pregnant…unfortunately, little Peach (as my mother has fondly starting referring to the baby) doesn’t care for them much anymore so I haven’t had one in awhile. Hopefully she (or he!) will come around soon, though! :)

The beauty in these smoothies is that you can use any fruit you like- bananas, strawberries, peaches, plums…whatever! They make a great breakfast or quick power lunch and keep you full and satisfied! Try one! You’ll love it!

Green Monster Smoothie

1 banana, roughly chopped
4 or 5 strawberries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 small peach, peeled and roughly chopped
1 heaping cup (or more) fresh spinach leaves, thoroughly rinsed
splash vanilla soy milk
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup crushed ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
*this recipe makes a very large smoothie- two could easily share.

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

Here are some other great recipes for green monster smoothies:
Annie’s Eats
Oh She Glows
Naturally Ella

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Sunrise Margaritas…

Opera rehearsals have been taking their toll lately, and I feel like I’ve barely seen Joel at all these past 3 weeks. However, I was lucky enough to have a couple of my rehearsals cancelled this weekend, so Joel and I made plans for a little celebration at home. :) We went to the store and got all the stuff to make a huge Mexican feast! We grilled spicy, citrus-y fish, made homemade salsa and guacamole and drank these delicious sunrise margaritas- what a way to spend Saturday night! I just couldn’t wait to share these margaritas with you, especially with Cinco de Mayo being only 3 days away! I think you’ll really love them!

Sunrise Margaritas

2 mangos, peeled and chopped
1 cup fresh lime juice (I ended up using about 8 very juicy limes)
juice from one orange (I used a Cara Cara orange, but blood oranges would be great too)
3/4 cup Kern’s peach nectar
1/2 – 3/4 cup powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like it), sifted
1 cup tequila
1 cup triple sec (or any orange liqueur)

Place the chopped mango in a blender with the peach nectar and blend until totally pureed and smooth. Pour through a strainer to get all the little fibers out.

Place all the ingredients in a large pitcher and stir to combine. Serve over ice. Serves 4 (or 2 very thirsty people) ;)

Recipe source: Sing For Your Supper original

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